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LETHAL WEAPON 3 ($25) is a marked improvement over the second installment in a series that I thought was running out of gas. Sure the second had tons of action, comedy and stunts; unfortunately it didn’t have a really good story to tie it up into a neat little package. Let’s just say that with LETHAL WEAPON 3, the magic is truly back. From my vantage point, LETHAL WEAPON 3 turns out to be such a good movie, thanks to the addition of Rene Russo to the cast. In recent years, Russo has enhanced my enjoyment of so many movies, I think she should be getting twenty million dollars a movie- instead of the action heroes who rake in all the big paychecks. Russo has amazing chemistry with Mel Gibson, and her character, Lorna Cole, perfectly complements Gibson’s insane antics as Martin Riggs. As it turns out, Lorna Cole is equally insane, although she hides it a lot better.

The plot of LETHAL WEAPON 3 is simple enough. Danny Glover’s character, police Detective Roger Murtaugh, is just a few days away from retirement and he is doing everything within his power to stay out of the path of trouble. His biggest problem is being partnered with Riggs, who has a way of finding trouble. Somehow, Riggs manages to get them both busted down to patrolmen, but that doesn’t last long when they encounter street gang members toting automatic weapons missing from a police lockup. From then on, LETHAL WEAPON 3 is non-stop action as Riggs, Murtaugh and Cole track the theft back to a dirty former cop. Look for Joe Pesci’s return as Leo Getz, the single most annoying human being on the face of the planet, who aids the team when he making them miserable.

Warner Home Video has made LETHAL WEAPON 3 available on DVD in both Letterboxed and cropped presentations on opposing sides of the DVD. The cropped presentation excludes far too much of the Panavision aspect ratio to be worth viewing for anyone but the most anti-Letterbox. Color reproduction is good, but the image is a bit soft and grainy from being blown up for the cropped presentation. The Letterboxed presentation restores most of the film’s 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and includes the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. The transfer itself looks great, with a sharp and highly detailed image that features excellent color saturation. Digital compression artifacts were almost undetectable on this DVD.

Warner has given the soundtrack a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel re-mix for this release. The track is excellent, with good channel separation across the front, clear dialogue and deep bass. The surround channels are effectively deployed, but don’t have the punch of a film mixed theatrically into Dolby Digital. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track, plus French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available on DVD in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to two theatrical trailers, production notes and cast biographies.

LETHAL WEAPON 3 is a fun action-comedy that is greatly enhanced by the presence of Renee Russo. The DVD looks and sounds terrific; these two factors were enough to please this reviewer. Recommended




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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